From coastal resorts to centrally located spa hotels in major cities, Spain has no shortage of accommodations for us to consider. But if you’re looking for a unique stay that is as historic as it is luxurious, Spain’s converted castles are one of its best-kept secrets. Spend the night in a 9th-century fortress, relax in a 12th-century frescoed spa, or wander the palace halls of 14th-century kings while absorbing the grandeur with modern amenities. In no particular order, our editors share the best castle stays throughout the Iberian peninsula (including Mallorca), plus a few monasteries and manor houses.
1. Castell Son Claret, Mallorca
Half an hour from central Palma, you can enjoy your own slice of paradise at the Castell Son Claret. A tree-lined path takes you toward the entrance of this stunning 19th-century castle hotel, backed by the powerful Tramuntana Mountains. There are two restaurants to enjoy on the property: Restaurant Olivera focuses on hearty Mediterranean and Sa Clastra is innovative and modern. Both emphasize sustainability and local produce from the fields and the ocean nearby. Consider staying in their most unique room, the Water Tower, a two-story duplex located in the heart of the castle’s beautiful gardens.
2. Castillo Hotel Son Vida, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Mallorca
This adults-only Marriott hotel in Mallorca is housed in a 13th-century castle where you’ll have the space and privacy to unwind. Just outside Palma, Son Vida’s surroundings are a peaceful retreat with panoramic views of the bay. Unwind with yoga classes, play a few rounds at one of two golf courses that surround the castle, and immerse yourself in a sensory spa experience (try their ‘Golf Treatment’ post-round). There are multiple dining options throughout the hotel, including a poolside bar & restaurant and a Salon serving afternoon tea. Or, let the hotel reserve a table at the Michelin Star restaurant Es Fum.
3. Cap Rocat, Mallorca
Surrounded by 30 kilometers of protected nature reserve, the five-star Cap Rocat is a true sanctuary just outside Palma. It is the perfect (and secluded) romantic getaway for a honeymoon or anniversary. The fortress grounds have been meticulously transformed by architect Antonio Obrador, which was recognized with the Europa Nostra award among others. Dine on site at La Fortaleza, travel the world through their sensory spa journey, or discover Mallorca’s coastline and marine reserve with a boat tour. Book your stay in early August to attend the renowned classical music festival, Cap Rocat Festival.
4. Hotel Basilica, Mallorca
Most castle hotels in Spain sit in the countryside, on the outskirts of cities. The Hotel Basilica, however, is located directly in the heart of Palma de Mallorca’s Old Town. This 18th-century manor house emphasizes elegance and luxury through its renovator’s deliberate use of Mallorcan materials to elevate the structure’s original character. In the breakfast room, a gothic arch dating back to the 14th century — when this land was a garden for the hotel’s namesake, Basilica of San Francisco — is prominently featured. The beautiful tiled floors and much of the furniture have been hand-crafted and tailor-made by local artisans. The remodel go beyond the eye, with attention to perfecting acoustics and climate emissions. Whether you’re relaxing with a drink in the courtyard or taking a dip in the rooftop pool, the traffic-restricted location ensures a quiet stay.
5. Parador de Cuenca, Cuenca
Some of the best castle hotels in Spain are called ‘Paradores’, which are owned and operated by the Spanish government. They provide reliable, comfortable (typically four-star) accommodation at historically significant locations. Of these, the expansive 16th-century convent in the city of Cuenca (a World Heritage Site) is home to the Parador de Cuenca. This hotel is right by the San Pablo bridge, which provides some of the best views of Cuenca’s famous ‘Hanging Houses’. The interiors are stylish, blending modern and classical aesthetics. Eat artisanal cheeses and gin & tonic-flavored desserts in the convent’s chapel and take in panoramic views of the city while relaxing by the pool.
6. Parador de Alarcón, Cuenca
Remarkably well-preserved, the interior of this 8th-century castle has been rebuilt to provide modern comforts, while maintaining the aesthetics of its history. With the canopy bed frames, medieval chandeliers in the restaurant, and exposed stone walls throughout, the Parador de Alarcón transports you back in time to the Middle Ages. From its perch atop the gorge, you’ll enjoy fantastic views of the countryside, the town, and the Júcar River.
7. Residencia Real Castillo de Curiel, Valladolid
Situated high on a lone hill in the heart of Ribera del Duero, the Residencia Real Castillo de Curiel stands out at 937 meters above its surroundings. Within the castle, each room is dedicated to a historical figure who once lived there during the Middle Ages. The hotel can help organize unique activities, from falconry exhibitions and to monument tours. But its real specialty is wine tourism. The hotel has a winery on-site, housed in a nearby 12th-century church, where they make their award-winning Viejo Coso red wine. Don’t forget to request an exclusive view from the top of the castle.
8. Castilla Termal Monasterio de Valbuena, Valladolid
As its name suggests, Castilla Termal Monasterio de Valbuena, is a five-star thermal pool and spa retreat in the heart of the ‘Gold Mile’, with a first-class staff and a singular goal: helping guests disconnect through the region’s bounties. 2,000 of the 18,000 square meter grounds are dedicated solely to the spa, housing 16 treatment rooms. Throughout the sprawling 12th-century Cistercian Monastery, travelers can find traditional and modern gastronomy, tailored wellness programs lasting from 2 to 14 days, ample activity options, and an experience like no other —rejuvenating in the thermal pools under the gothic frescos of the recreated Chapel of San Pedro (St. Peter’s Chapel Experience).
9. Posada Real Castillo del Buen Amor, Salamanca
The Castillo del Buen Amor has played many roles throughout history. It was a defensive fortress, a palace, and, in the 19th century, an agricultural warehouse. Now, this castle hotel has been restored to its former glory and renovated with modern amenities for a seamless experience. Surrounded by seven hectares of vineyard, the castle is an excellent base for wine tasting, starting in their restaurant. While there, enjoy dinner with seasonal vegetables from their organic garden. Then, relax in the outdoor pool surrounded by some of the 250,000 native trees planted as part of the hotel’s environmental and conservation efforts.
10. Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca
Housed in a defensive castle once inhabited by the 14th-century King Enrique II de Trastámara, the Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo has gorgeous views of the historic city of Ciudad Rodrigo from its perch above (choose a room with a balcony for the best view). Inside the hotel, suits of armor stand against the exposed stone walls. Outside, you can spend your days exploring the city and its 12th-century walls. The park and children’s play area help make it popular with families.
11. Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera, Cáceres
Nestled amidst the trees close to the village of Jarandilla, the 15th-century Parador de Jarandilla de la Vera offers comfortable luxury, just off the beaten path. The castle’s impressive towers and intimate halls once played host to Emperor Charles V for several months before he made his way to the Monastery of Yuste. Many visitors like to make the 10-kilometer walk to the monastery where the Spanish king spent his final years. The restaurant serves Extremadura cuisine (focusing on the bounty of the land), including acorn-fed ham from the Meadow of Extremadura, a Protected Designation of Origin.
12. Parador de Monforte de Lemos, Lugo
Once a monastery, The Parador de Monforte de Lemos was built on the ruins of a medieval castle. Today, it offers elegant, historic rooms, courtyard views of the cloisters, and a welcoming staff. It’s in an excellent location for exploring Lemos and the stunning Ribeira Sacra region. (But with a gym, jacuzzi and an outdoor pool, you might not want to leave.) The restaurant serves Galician food, including Octopus á Feira and caramelized pancakes in the evenings and a breakfast buffet each morning.
13. Hotel Castillo Del Bosque La Zoreda, Asturias
Built in 1930 in the quiet La Zoreda forest, the Hotel Castillo Del Bosque La Zoreda is among the 25 best five-star luxury hotels in Spain. The furnishings in the rooms blend modern, monochromatic tastes with ornate touches to the beds and dressing tables. With the Asturian countryside at your fingertips, hike through the sun-kissed forest, leisurely drive through the nearby villages, or visit the main town of Oviedo. Then relax at the exclusive hotel spa, followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant — noted as one of the five best restaurants in all of Oviedo.
14. Parador de Granada, Granada
The Alhambra Palace is one of Granada’s most well-known attractions and you can experience it directly within the grounds inside the 15th-century convent at the Parador de Granada. Guests staying overnight can walk the palace gardens without the bustle of day tourists, creating a truly magical experience. The Paradores Collection considers this stay as one of the most special hotels within their network, with its lush grounds and magnificent view from the muqarnas dome. While its location is steps away from the Alhambra Palace, it’s also close to Granada’s historic quarter and the Monasterio de San Jerónimo, Granada.
15. Hotel Soho Boutique Castillo de Santa Catalina, Málaga
With views of the Bay of Málaga from its castle pool, Hotel Castillo de Santa Catalina boasts not only a five-star experience but the “most exclusive 5* Hotel in Malaga.” Inspired by Arab-Renaissance architecture and built in 1932, the hotel staff prides themselves on their personalized service, and with just 24 unique and exquisite rooms, you’ll feel right at home. Spacious, sun-filled rooms and a restaurant with sea views make this Costa del Sol getaway a retreat to remember. With a spa and gym set to open in 2023, you’ll have everything at your fingertips.
16. Castillo de Arteaga Relais & Chateaux, Bizkaia
White marble and red tiles create the picture-perfect Basque country setting of Castillo de Arteaga Relais & Chateaux. Even their “Standard Rooms” have a wonderful sense of grandeur, with most keeping the original wood paneling or stone walls. The structure dates back to the 13th century, but Empress Eugenia de Montijo rebuilt the castle as it stands today in the mid-19th century. The restaurant, an elegant dining space, employs creative and traditional cooking techniques, with dedicated gastronomic craftsman and chef, Estibaliz Mekolalde. Head down into the castle’s stone cellar (where the former Emporers stored their most-prized wine) to taste txakoli, a regional white wine. In your leisure time, take a stroll through the Oma Painted Forest, just five kilometers from the castle.
17. Parador de Cardona, Barcelona
Strategically positioned atop a hill to keep a watch over the Pyrenees and Catalonia sits the 9th-century fortress of Parador de Cardona. Now, the castle’s residential palace houses elegant rooms with unbeatable views, where you can stay precisely where the royal families slept. This is an ideal spot for anyone hoping to explore Catalonia and Cardona’s countryside with numerous hiking and bike trails leading you through and around the town surrounding the Castle.
The grounds are extensive, showcasing its impressive architectural design, along with its highly-rated restaurant in the original stone-arched dining hall. The castle is close enough to Barcelona and the Costa Brava for a day trip, but you’ll find plenty to see nearby including the old Salt Mines and the Collegiate Church of San Vincente.
18. Parador de Olite, Navarra
With enchanting towers, vines meandering up its walls, and grand entrances, the Parador de Olite whisks you away into a fairytale. The hotel itself is housed in the castle’s Old Palace area and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore amidst its gardens, battlements, and towers. The town below is known for its historic quarter, where you’ll find churches, museums, and mansions to explore. It hosts a Medieval festival each summer, and the Parador de Olite is an on-point themed stay if you plan on attending.
19. Parador de Hondarribia, Gipuzkos
Built in the 10th century by the King of Navarre and remodeled in the 16th century by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the Parador de Hondarribia’s royal roots run deep. The open common areas maintain a step-back-in-time historic feel with exposed stone walls and warm lighting that mimics the feeling of candlelight. The rooms themselves are refreshingly modern, an unusual feature for a Paradores property. While it does not have a restaurant on-site, it does have a beautifully designed, arch-windowed dining room for its locally made sweet and savory breakfast, served daily.
20. Castle of the Bishops of Sigüenza, Guadalajara
The Parador Sigüenza, with its “medieval splendor and avant-garde luxury,” sits inside the dominating Castle of the Bishops of Sigüenza. Once the residence of bishops, the castle has also played host to Kings and Cardinals throughout the centuries (including the retired King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía who visited for the hotel’s inauguration). Outside, you can view the medieval architecture (including typical wooden balconies) from the impressively spacious cobble-stone courtyard. Within the rooms, the tiled floors and stone arches create a comfortably rustic experience. Consider booking a junior suite with a four-poster bed to truly feel like a royal.